What You Need to Know About Birth Control

What You Need to Know About Birth Control

There are many different types of birth control on the market and determining which may be best for you and your body can be difficult. Not only will this guide help to distinguish between the different forms but you should also discuss with your doctor what the best method of birth control may be

Which birth control methods also protect against sexually transmitted infections?

The best protection against STIs is the male condom with the female condom providing less protection. You should use a male condom in addition to the other methods of birth control to protect against STIs. Many STIs are spread through the physical contact of infected body parts and so birth control methods that do not create a barrier between those parts cannot effectively protect against infection. 

What are the different methods of birth control?

There are many different birth control methods available nowadays and finding the best one for you means speaking with your gynecologist and considering the following:
  • Any health problems you may have.
  • How well each method prevents pregnancy.
  • How easy it is to use.
  • If you need a prescription in order to get it.
  • If it protects against STIs

Birth control pill

Birth control pills are a pill you take orally at the same time every day. It contains hormones that work to prevent pregnancy. There are quite a variety of birth control pills available but your health care provider will be able to determine the best one for you and your needs. If you do miss taking a pill one day, the package that your pills come in will address what you should do. 

Vaginal ring

The ring is a flexible ring that is inserted into the upper vagina and releases hormones into your body from there. It is worn inside your vagina for 21 days and then removed for seven days in which you have your menstrual period. Following that period, a new ring is inserted.

Birth control shot

A shot containing hormones that prevent pregnancy is administered as a intramuscular injection or buttock muscle. 

Implantation

The implant is a small plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that your doctor will insert under the skin of the inner arm. The implant can be used for up to 3 years. 

Intrauterine device

The IUD is a small, T-shaped device that’s inserted into the uterus. There are 2 types of IUDs: (1) a hormonal IUD which is approved for up to 5 years of use, and (2) the copper IUD which is approved for up to 10 years of use.

Condoms

Condoms are available in both male and female varieties. Condoms are often used in tandem with spermicides to prevent pregnancy and are the best method for preventing the spread of STIs.

Diaphragms

A diaphragm is a small dome-shaped device that’s made of either latex or silicone and fits inside the vagina, covering the cervix. Your doctor may need to do a pelvic exam in order to find the right size diaphragm for you and you will need a prescription to obtain it. 

Emergency contraception

If you have sex without using any form of birth control or if the birth control method used did not work (for example, the condom broke during sex), you can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. Emergency birth control is available in pill form which must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
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